My favorite folks ! :)

30 May 2009


I don't feel like i'm making a lot of headway for getting ready to go. That's not true, of course, i am doing things. But i've a feeling i will reach Sunday afternoon & start to panic.

My friend Pegg (who doesn't read blogs) came over to check out my schedule & the map. When i said how long we would be driving she thought i meant from CA to KY. I thought, "no, it is much farther than that!" But doing a Google map search i learned the amount of driving we plan to do is the same as if we drove from CA to KY, one way. Thankfully we are flying there & then driving all of that.

Friend Kimmy came & cleaned more on Thursday. She got the kitchen really clean, but i didn't have her put stuff back 'cause i wanted to reorganize. I did that, slowly, yesterday.

Friend Patty had sent a gluten-free lemon poppy seed muffin recipe out a few weeks
ago. I made it 'cause i really miss poppy seed muffins. I changed it of course. If i ever mention a recipe, you can be sure i changed it. Duane says i can't follow a recipe exactly to save my life! But you see, the muffins i miss are almond poppy seed. They turned out so well - everything a muffin shoud be, light & fluffy. I don't miss wheat at all. And Duane likes them too.

The original recipe was small. It was to make mini-muffins. But i don't have a mini-muffin pan. So it made 6 regular sized ones, but not the oversized, giant ones they sell in the stores.

Because they turned out well, i wondered if i could modify them to make banana bread. Duane likes that, i had old bananas, & i've not found a gluten-free one that makes good bread.

Oh, this recipe calls for agave syrup, & i have been using it, but in the future i intend to try this with honey instead. I know it will change the taste some, but i have come to believe that agave syrup is way off on its fructose/sucrose balance. But this recipe calls for only a little.

Here's the original recipe:

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
  • ¼ C coconut flour
  • ¼ tsp celtic sea salt
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ C agave nectar
  • ¼ C grapeseed oil
  • 1 TB lemon zest
  • 1 TB poppy seeds
1. In a medium bowl combine coconut flour, salt and baking soda
2. In a large bowl blend together eggs, agave, oil and lemon zest
3. Blend dry ingredients into wet
4. Fold in poppy seeds

5. Spoon 1 tablespoon of batter into each greased mini muffin cup
6. Bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes
7. Cool and serve

Makes about about 24 mini-muffins

The changes i made: I didn't have grapeseed oil, so i used coconut oil instead. Did not double I didn't use lemon zest, i used about 1 tsp almond flavoring. I used just less than 1/8 C of my regular flour blend (mix of bean flours, quinoa, amaranth, oat, rice - brown, white, sweet; tapioca, i don't remember the rest) & a tablespoon of "almond flour" then the rest the coconut flour. Plus a little Xanathan gum. The first time i made this i couldn't find the poppy seed (found it later in plain sight, sigh), so i did chia instead. It was fine. The second time i did poppy seed, but i added more. We like poppy seeds! This made 6 regular
cupcake sized muffins.

For the banana bread yesterday i doubled the recipe except oil & sweetener. Di
d not add lemon zest. Used 1/4 C flour mix & 1/4 C coconut. Did add a little Xanathan gum. Also i did a small amount of baking powder, small amount of baking soda. Used 1 tsp of vanilla. The bananas i had that were overripe were small, but one didn't want to peel so i started with only one. I blended it with the eggs & then followed the rest of the directions. However, when i was finished i had the feeling that it just didn't have enough banana. I had one other one that was starting to get soft, so i blended it in with the whizzy stick.

Poured it into a greased, floured standard glass bread pan & baked it at 375 F (because of the altitude) for about 45 minutes. In flatland you would probably bake it at 350 F for
about 50-55 minutes. It came out beautifully (except it didn't want to come out of the pan, but i got to taste it from the bottom) & it tastes good. It has little bubbles in it that you want to see meaning it was able to rise. It is moist & heavy, but not too heavy. Yummy!

My whizzy stick =======>

Now i'm off to get things done & make things for Fellowship at church tomorrow. A yummy homemade spinach dip. Hope i've the energy to keep going! Have a great Saturday!


27 May 2009

What a Map!

Well, here is a plan of our trip.

The map didn't come out very clear. I had trouble getting it to print properly.

We still don't know if we will make it to West Virginia. This map leaves off the original trip from Nashville to Glasgow, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours. I'm not very adept with Google maps, but this is what i came up with.

Google maps informs me that this is 29 hours of driving. I'd really like to make it to Charleston, but i don't know about the additional 5 hours of driving, plus that wouldn't leave us much time to see anything. We may not follow this exact route. I couldn't get Google maps to print so i went to mapquest. It gives an estimate of 26 hours. Of course that's broken up. Two hours here, four hours there . . .

When i get home today i'm going to be going nuts trying to get everything done. We don't leave



(I'm so creative with my titles!)

I meant to do Lynnette Kraft's Wednesday Walk last week, but never got to it. So here it is.

We have two of the funniest cats on the planet.

Mac is an "in the tub" or "in the sink" cat often. (Throw a toy in the tub & he can make a lot of noise being silly & bouncing it around.)

We've lived in three different places since we've had Mac, & since we were married. The first was a townhouse in Costa Mesa that i'd lived in since my second year of college. (I cannot believe it is 16 years since i graduated from college, now!) The first pic is of Mac in the sink at that house.

The second house was rented. Because we were making such major changes in moving to the mountains, we decided to rent for a while first to see if what we planned worked before committing to buy. We rented a small (800 sq ft) house that did have 2 bathrooms. Two bathrooms is always a requirement. This was considerably smaller than the townhouse, & we got rid of a lot of stuff. Still, we were packed in the tiny house! It also had major issues. (The house would sway when the wind was blowing or the washer was spinning; the washer was in a shed OUTSIDE - yes, i had a load of clothes freeze inside that winter; i thanked God daily that we didn't own that house.) But what was funny was that it had these little tiny sinks in the bathrooms. Mac still was determined that he could fit into these.

After a year we bought our home, Sugarbear. It has two bathrooms (tho upstairs is half bath, we go downstairs to shower; we will remodel that bathroom someday). It has normal sized sinks. Mac likes these as well. Here he is in the upstairs sink. I don't know why he likes the sinks so much, but i sure think he is funny.

Silly Mac!

In order not to overlook Jazz, here he is as a kitten with his monkey. This was one of his favorite toys for a long time. We don't even know where it came from. It is marked as a Ronald McDonald toy, but we don't eat there, nor do we have kids to buy these things for.

We thought Duane's brother brought it some time when he was taking care of the cats for
us, but he says not. Jazz bites this thing, & tosses it up in the air. We throw it & he fetches (tho sometimes his "fetch" is about 2 feet from where it landed). He likes having it tossed to him when he is sitting on the mantle or cat tree. He is so funny, & quite accurate in catching it & tossing it back.

This monkey disappeared the year we were in the rented house. We found it when we moved to Sugarbear. We had our bed on concrete blocks, & the monkey had been dumped into the hole space in one of these. I suppose he thought he was playing when he did that, but we were sure mystified. It is still one of his favorite toys.

Silly Jazz!

Go on over & check out what other folks are posting with Lynnette. Her Mister Linky isn't working (i've heard of several folks having problems with Mister Linky) so just post the link in the comment section.


25 May 2009

Monday, Monday

I've not posted pics for a while. I'm posting some Duane took at his sister's wedding in March 2007. This is Corona Del Mar beach - forget its exact title. It is just north of Crystal Cove. My sis loves this beach for the tide pools.

Other people are doing such touching tributes on their blogs. Memorial day has never had all that much significance in my life. If we had lived in the South longer (we lived there until i was 8) i think i would have had more affinity with the holiday. It is celebrated there (i think) much more than in other parts of the country, at least places i've lived. But i'm learning so much reading the other blogs.

We did some garage sale-ing today. We haven't this weekend, tho it is a "big" weekend for garage/yard sales in BB. But then . . . it is all summer long here. There are no restrictions on this in BB. (In Costa Mesa there was a law that you couldn't do more than 2, i think, a year.) Here, if someone wants to do it every day they can. There was one lady who ran a garage/yard sale continuously every weekend from the end of April or early May thru October for 27 years! She gave it up & went out of business last year.

We don't really need anything, & i don't want to clutter my house. Here's what we got (if i remember it all):
  • A cute tin (i chose one out of about 20 she had) - 25 cents
  • A glass container that matches ones i have - 50 cents (value $8)
  • A package of new clothes pins - missing one - $1
  • A pillow of microbeads - $2
  • A cute box with a bear - $1
  • A 5 gal gas container - $2
  • A pair of camo pants for Duane - $10
  • A pair of Western riding boots for me (just a little too big) - $25
I think that's all we got. My neighbor has been doing a garage sale off & on for a few weeks. He has an acoustic guitar for sale that i want very much, but he wants $200 for it. I don't know how to play guitar, but long ago i did play violin & i think i could learn easily. This one has a beautiful sound. But $200 is a lot of money for us.

BTW, i did Karaoke for the first time at the wedding the other day. I would not have volunteered, but did so at the request of the bride. I couldn't hear the music & know the result was truly awful. I was so disappointed.

Duane wants to join Search & Rescue. He probably will in July (we'll be away for the June meeting). The down side of this is that he will have a mandatory meeting one Monday a month. But Mondays we are usually already down the hill.

So we were looking at options on our way to the wedding (2 hour drive). Should he drive back up for that one meeting & then down on later Monday night or Tuesday morning (4 hour round trip)? Should we stay home for the one Monday a month? The problem with that option is that Duane would then want to be down the hill Tue/Wed/Thur. I NEVER like that option. I don't like being away from home one minute more than i have to. But staying home one day a month & not "making it up" violates his ethical code. I don't agree - he works whether he is here or there, but he has in his head that he has to be "on premises" so many days a week. I can't argue with what he considers an ethical obligation - tho i want to! It also screws with my schedule some as clients are used to me being there certain days & i wouldn't be able to make up the half day i would miss.

So, it then occurred to me that we could change the schedule. Instead of going down the hill Monday & being there Tuesday & coming home Wednesday, we could go down Tuesday, be there Wednesday, come home Thursday. This actually has a lot of desirable results.
  • Duane could attend his monthly meeting without changing our work schedule at all
  • I'd still have the same number of hours available for work, but in a better configuration
  • Duane would be able to attend karate more easily
  • We would be able to go to the Farmer's Market here in BB Tuesday mornings before leaving to go to work
Seems like there were more pluses as well.

Duane's dojo meets MWF & he tries to make the Monday meetings/practice. However, the first day he is on site at his work is crazy & it is often hard for him to leave in time. But by Tuesday evening things have settled down & he often has free time. If we switch the schedule by one day, the second day would be Wednesday, & he thinks he is more likely to make karate practice.

My office is closed T/Th mornings. I get a lot of things done Tuesday AM, but i often want to be doing things Wednesday AM right before we leave (groceries i don't want to sit more than 24 hours to get home). But i do have an obligation to work, if anyone wants to be seen. Usually i don't have anyone, evenings are a busier time for me as people want to be seen after work. So i've gotten in the habit of doing grocery shopping & other errands Wednesday AM, but if someone schedules it stresses me trying to get it all done.

Now, instead of working 3 half days, i'll work 1 half day (Tue) & 1 full day (Wed) & still have Thursday AM to get things done with no other conflicts. The only problem i see with this is before i had hours across 3 days. If we do this i'll only have hours across 2, but i will still have 2 evenings which are the most important.

Also, i LOVE the idea that we would be able to go to the Farmer's Market & support our local area & get fresh produce. Except on the rare occasions we were home for a week, it was never possible before.

So, i think we are going to do it. I'll talk to my work & see if there is a problem (don't expect it & they can't dictate hours to me as i'm a contractor, but thought it would be nice to talk to them first). I assume Duane will check with his boss as well. If we do start this, we will probably begin right after 4th of July, tho part of me wants to jump on it right away!

Happy, blessed Memorial Day everyone, as we remember loved ones gone, & all who work now & in the past, to protect our land. :)


24 May 2009

Another broken hearted rant

Well, i survived the weekend. It wasn't so easy.

I never made it to help prepare for the yard sale on Thursday. Duane went & took a lot of stuff, & he said they had lots of folks there working. I was so very, very exhausted from the moment i got up, i knew if i over did it on Thursday i'd never make it thru Friday & Saturday.

Kimmy came & did a lovely job on the downstairs. She's coming again this Thursday. Think i'll have her do the cobwebs upstairs, & then together we'll do a "deep cleaning" on the kitchen.

I did massage - in a massage chair - at the yard sale. I did ok. Some folks were really glad i was there. (Tho i've NEVER done 1 minute massages before! New to me! I did two of those, a 3 minute massage, several 5 minute massages, & some longer - 10 to 20 minute.) I was charging $1/minute, which is a price break from my normal fee & folks can choose how long they wanted/how much they wanted to spend.

Somehow, doing massage, i'm doing what i'm "suppose" to do. I'm almost never tired when doing that work. It is like God provides what i need for that time. I don't have that kind of energy any other time, but it just flows when i'm working.

Then we went down the hill to a wedding. Duane's uncle got remarried, & they had a lovely ceremony in their back yard. Both Uncle Dick & (now) Auntie Dee are cards, & there were some gags through out.

We saw cousins we'd not seen since the last wedding a year ago. There seems to be a family wedding about once a year, & we get to visit then. Several years ago there were baby showers, too, but i don't do those anymore. The shower for Sarah was about a month after i lost Kaylee. Sarah is 5 months older than our little one would be.

So it is bittersweet to see them once a year, to see what Kaylee might be like. I don't know how to stop myself from thinking these things.

It has been hard. Dean at work has talked a couple of times about how special it is that Meredith's eyes brighten when she sees him. A father of an infant at the garage sale was talking of his son & said, "He's got a large piece of my heart." Each time my heart breaks a little. I don't want to take these things away from these people, but i so want it for us.

Duane loves kids. They love him. He so wants to be a daddy. I so want to be a mama. And time goes on.


21 May 2009


I shared that i tried making squaw bread a couple of weeks ago. It didn't turn out very good. I probably will try again. I may seek the help of folks who are more experienced gluten-free bread makers than am i. (I don't use a lot of rice flour, BTW. My current mix of flour is wonderful for pancakes, cookies, brownies, muffins. But it didn't do so well with squaw bread.)

There is a restaurant in town, mostly a sandwich shop, that has the most wonderful squaw bread. It is a wonderful, really dark brown, slightly sweet bread. They form it into loaves that are shaped like a French bread roll. When i'm going to cheat, a vegetarian sandwich on this bread is divine! So i asked them where they get the bread. Turns out that it comes to them pre-made dough. They take it out, form it into loaves, let it rise & bake it themselves. So i asked if they had an ingredient list. The owner promised to get it for me. And he did. Here it is:
  • Enriched bleached flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamine monoonitrate, riboflavin)
  • Wheat flour
  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Shortening (palm oil, mono & diglycerides, polysorbate 60 & citric acid)
  • Yeast
  • Wheat gluten
  • Hulled millet
Contains 2% or less of:
  • Molassas
  • Salt
  • Whey
  • Non-fat dry milk
  • Soy flour
  • Mono & diglycerides
  • Lecithin
  • Calcium sulfate
  • Ammonium sulfate
  • Monocalcium phosphate,
  • Fungal amylase
  • Ascorbic acid
  • maltodextrin
  • Potassium iodate
  • Azodicarbonamide
  • Tricalcium phosphate
  • Artifical flavor
  • Carmel color
Honestly, i almost fainted when i read this. How can something that tastes so good have so many nasty chemicals in it?

Well, i'll go one farther. Someone yesterday brought me a small cake. (Mix up on my BD, which is next month.) Very sweet, & i appreciate the thought. I can't of course eat it being gluten free, but again i thought it most kind to be remembered.

But on the cake container, right under my nose was the ingredient list:
  • Sugar
  • Enriched bleached flour (bleached wheat flour, niacin, reduduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid)
  • Water
  • Soybean oil
  • Eggs
  • Egg whites
  • Modified corn starch
Contains 2% or less of:
  • Nonfat milk
  • salt
  • Leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate)
  • Vital wheat gluten
  • Sorbitan monosterate
  • Mono & diglycerides
  • Polysorbate 60
  • Sodium stearoyl
  • Lactylate
  • Dextrose
  • Propylene glycol
  • citric acid
  • Artificial & natural flavors
  • sodium propionate
  • Sorbic acid
  • Benzoic acid
  • Methylparaben
  • Propylparaben
  • Alpha tocopherol
  • BHT (preservatives)
Contains: Wheat, milk eggs.

Please, someone explain to me why anyone seeing such a list would eat the darn thing? Granted, i don't buy this stuff generally. But have we become so accepting of the junk as a society that you can read a list of chemicals like that & think that it is normal & ok to eat it????????

No wonder we have such major health issues in this country.

(Images from Google.)


Ah'm tir'd

Seems i could start most of my posts this way, & i'm going to be tireder! I was going to do Wednesday Walk yesterday & even started, but by the time i would have been able to finish it was near midnight anyway & i was so tired.

I've been trying to prepare pics for this wedding anniversary. My sis says she has lots of our mother, but i have none. Most i have are from our dad's family. Here are two. The first one is my grandmother with her oldest 5 children. She would have been about 25 years old here. My dad is the one turned away from the camera.

The next one is of the four oldest. My dad was third, so he's on the left in the front.

I was surprised to learn there are so many family pics. I'd only seen one or two & just assumed the families were poor & didn't do pictures. I also find it interesting to see how much these gentlemen still look like they did as children. Especially uncles #2 (who is in the #1 spot, back left) & #4 still have similar expressions as they did 60 years ago.

Our church has its big fundraiser this weekend. Once a year on the Fri/Sat of Memorial Day weekend they take in donations & hold a big yard sale. I'm helping prepare some today, & working tomorrow & Sat. But my "work" will be chair massage for donations. I may pick up a couple of clients this way, too, but that is not the purpose. The problem is i can't do too much today or i won't be able to do anything later. Sat we can't work the whole day, we've a wedding down the hill we will be attending.

But i've got wonderful Kimmy coming to clean for me today. I love her, she is just so sweet. I'm going to have her do 4 hours today, mostly cobwebs, vacuuming & bathrooms, & then next week come in for about 6 hours where we both tackle the kitchen together. I just wasn't getting anywhere with spring cleaning & when i tried it just wore me out.

Ok, this is the TMI stuff. I'm late, but just by a couple of days. It isn't unusual for me, but not typical either. Last month i was actually relieved when i was early 'cause i didn't have to go thru this "hope/disappointed" phase. I actually did a preg test yesterday, negative. I know it is not definitive, but i've been thru this so many times before. The chances are truly very slim. So i'm praying - very hard - to be prepared for this disappointment.

I'm finding that this is defining & refining my relationship with God. Sometimes i don't like him very much. There are so many things i don't understand. "Jacob i have loved, Esau i have hated." Our pastor preached about this last Sunday. ??? It is perplexing to me how God seems to arbitrarily uplift one group or person & crush others. Or, as Duane referenced recently, if children are a gift/reward from the Lord, are we being punished?

And, i think this is why so many people reject God. God is incomprehensible & much of what the Bible presents doesn't make it much better. People see themselves as "good" & compare God negatively to themselves. I'm not sure they are aware of it, but that is what they are doing. And the idea of "accept everything" - which some very liberal churches do - is denying that God doesn't accept everything. Which is not accepting God for who he is.

I find it easier for me not to focus on some of these incomprehensible verses. I'm not denying them. I just have to take on faith that God is doing these things & choosing or cursing folks for a reason. I can't understand it now, but someday - if i need to know why - i will. I can simply rest in the fact that God is good, God is great, & he promises that all things will work together for his glory. A client of mine - who is extremely "anti-organized religion" in his words - was arguing with me. "If you accept any of it, you have to accept it all, don't you?" He was talking about many of the verses that are hard to understand. His take on it is that organized religion has misconstrued/mistranslated Bible verses & that the Bible is not to be trusted.

I'm not "not accepting" those verses. I'm saying they trouble me & i don't understand them, but God knows what he's doing, & if i can't understand it now, God's got it in control & i trust him. And so i don't overly freak out about it or spend too much time on them. If i trust God that's enough. I do believe God calls us to struggle with some hard issues. But i don't think that purposely seeking out & creating hard issues is what he calls me to do.

That was a bit of a diversion. But apropos. Yesterday i was doing a web search about taking verses out of context. I'm afraid i think it is something a lot of Christians do. One of the ones i'm finding particularly hard is the Jeremiah 29:11. "For i know the plans i have for you . . . " I know a lot of folks - folks i truly love dearly - use this verse. But it was written to the people of Israel in exile. It was not written to an individual.

Anyway, i was looking up what was said about context. One person claims you HAVE to take verses out of context for them to have any meaning. ??? Several were on those verses which are hard to understand, verses about stoning people, etc. One that i've wondered about, where Jesus talks about cutting off your hand or gouging out your eye. I've never heard of any church, even the most literal ones, encouraging folks to follow this directive.

Again, i keep getting diverted. In this search on what was being said about context, i came across this link: Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, Inc.
Someone asked the writer to address The Purpose Driven Life.

I've read that book. Did not like it at all, in fact i disliked it intensely. I didn't disagree with much of it. But it was written in a way that uses language that "triggers" many unhappy, unpleasant memories from my childhood attending an unhealthy church with my unhealthy family. Part of the reason i moved to a liturgical church when i was in college was to remove myself from that language. I am not saying the language is wrong. It speaks to many people & meets their needs. But for me it is like chewing on razor blades. I believe in God the Father who sent his son Jesus to be a bridge because we can't make it on our own. But i don't need the words & phrases used by some churches to have a relationship with God.

(When i'm really tired i tend to ramble)

The pastor who wrote the above article wasn't very positive about that book, but he didn't feel the book was "dangerous." He said it will meet the needs of some folks. But he does make some very valid points:

The Purpose Driven Life is mainly about by-products of Christianity rather than Christianity itself . . . The reality is that people don't want to know God, they want to know how they can be happy. They are seeking. But they are not seeking God; they are seeking the idols of self-actualization.

It is an excellent article. I encourage you to follow the link & read the whole thing (hopefully i did the link correctly, the link script is very long).

But this is my point in this long, long post. I want to know God. Yep, i'd like to be happy, too, but i REALLY want to know God. Which means giving up on my own hopes & dreams maybe. God put some people - especially in the OT - in some very uncomfortable positions in order to bring glory to himself. Does that make sense to me? No, it does not. But it does seem to be the way that God works.

So my prayer is that i'm able to accept this childless life i seem to be called to. I'm praying intently that i will be able to accept the disappointment that will be coming in a day or two.

Just as a post script - i love comments! I so enjoy hearing people's thoughts. But this time, please don't wish me hopes for a positive pregnancy. You can pray for that, but i have a hard time with the spoken/written comment. I am 99.99 percent sure that i am not pregnant, & if i happen to fall into the .01 percent & be pregnant, believe me you WILL hear about it! While this blog covers our journey on this, i don't want to change the way i write. I'm not dissing the blogs that give every detail of their goal to have a baby, but i don't want to follow that format & give cycle days etc. I find that sharing the hope every month & then the ultimate disappointment is more of a roller coaster than i can handle.

Just be assured that if there is ever a positive pregnancy test, it will be blogged here - probably in all caps - right after i tell Duane & watch him do the very sweet "baby dance." (Not the sex act which is what some call "baby dancing." When we had a + preg before he did this funky, happy dance all around the house.)


18 May 2009

More pics of stuff

Well, i meant to write yesterday. But we are making a DVD of pics & people's good wishes & thoughts for the wedding anniversary, & i spent most of yesterday afternoon on it. I ended up with 444 pics, but there are many more to scan in. I need to cull these, because some are not necessary. It is a project that will keep me busy.

Here are the other projects i'd been working on. This is an apron. I've had the pattern & material for some time. Actually, i bought an apron like it that i used as a pattern. I made a few changes - added pockets, for example. The problem is that i didn't realize the fabric is 100% cotton, so it will have to be ironed. I look kind of grumpy here. I guess i was, for it didn't turn out as i wanted it. Also, it is not nearly as cute on as i thought it would be. I will know how to do it better the next time, when i have time to do this again.

I was making it for my mother. But i got about half way thru & thought, "What am i DOING??!!! I must be crazy!" You see, my mother is a perfectionist, & near-profes
sional seamstress. And, while i'm somewhat of a perfectionist, i do recognize "good enough."

But, overall, while i was making it i did think it would be good enough. Until i got to the very last line of sewing. It was turning the lining under & top stitching it down. And i discovered that i made the lining a tiny bit too wide, & a tiny bit too short. So, when i did that last line of top stitching the darn thing puckered. What to do? I not only would not give it to my perfectionist mother, i wouldn't give it to anyone.

I am removing the top stitching, to see if there is some way i can "fix it." I'm not sure of this, but i suppose it is worth a try. My sister thinks my mother would be pleased with anything i gave her, but i'm not so sure. She suggested just giving it to her & allowing her to fix it - she is the professional after all - if she finds that she just can't tolerate the imperfection. I'm not so sure about this either.

So now the question is what to do? I don't really have the time to spend trying to make another. I spent all day Saturday on this. I've so many other things to do before we go. I'm tempted just to give it to the church to sell at this week's garage sale.

The other project is the baby blanket i made. I mentioned it a couple of weeks ago. It is an easy pattern, so i was done fairly soon. But i've not made this one in a while. It turned out too wide for its length. The next one i will know better. This is a very soft, off-white soy yarn. I'm including the second pic so that you can see the stitches close up.

It doesn't look very big in the pic, but it is actually large, it is just the proportions are off. So i wouldn't give this to anyone, either. Should it go to the yard sale? I'm
donating the rest of my "hope" things, a couple of cute shirts & outfits, tiny socks & mitts.

Yesterday was our "anniversary." Six years ago on 17 May a group of folks i worked with went to see a movie. Actually we went to The Matrix Reloaded, i think. Did i write about this before? Anyway, Joseph, whom i'd known for years & was kind of a friend as well as a coworker, brought Duane along. The rest was history. After the movie we talked for hours & began dating soon after. So, usually on the anniversary of that date we go to a movie. And girls, i would not remember the exact date had not Duane put it on his calendar as "Enter the Matrix." And he is better at remembering it than am i.

Duane proposed on 10 December (2003), & when we were planning a wedding date he said that he wanted to be married either on a 10 or a 17 so that he had fewer numbers to remember!

So, here are some pics of the lilacs that were blooming this weekend. These first two were taken in town, the white lilacs & bigger bushes are not ours.

This is one of my three lilac bushes. They survived better than i thought. The watering last year helped a lot, for last year they had almost no flowers at all. All three of the lilacs were very broken by the heavy snows last year but they bounced back wonderfully.

This is the scrawniest of the three. It doesn't have many blossoms/flowers on it. But i'm pleased it looks so healthy. It looked pretty pathetic after last winter.


16 May 2009

Memorial & reflection

We had the memorial today for the lady who died recently. Her name was Karen. If you think of her family, please pray for them. Karen's death was very unexpected & i think the family is having a hard time.

In some ways i believe death should be a celebration. It is opening the door to be in the presence of God. I think we don't reflect on this enough.

But the hard part of death is for those of us left, & the ongoing loss & promise cut short.

Karen was only 56. Her daughter is not yet married, & her younger son is soon to be married. There are grandchildren there she will never know or influence.

I think this idea of loss came home to me clearly for the first time this week. I've had loss before. I've lost several near & dear friends whom i miss very much. That i can't pick up the phone & chat with them or go to lunch is difficult. But in many ways a near loss, brother/sister/parent has not occurred in my life.

A couple of days ago i posted the pics of some pink glads that had originally been sown by Duane's sister Laura. I know of Laura. I've seen her pics & know her birthday was 4th of July. Duane does not often speak of her, & his mom only on rare occasion. Laura was married, but had not yet had children when she died.

Somehow those glads made Laura real to me in a way she never had been before. And i was aware of the sense of loss. I would have had a sister in law. Nieces &/or nephews (grandchildren for my MIL) unborn. A sister to garden with. Conversations never spoken. A big loss i had never truly understood before.

Obviously Duane has had more loss than i, close personal. First his dad had a brain aneurysm that robbed him of his senses, then his sister died, then his dad actually died.

But somehow, today & this week i've been thinking of loss in the loss of promise & potential.

But my MIL & i think Laura is caring for Kaylee in heaven. My MIL says Laura loved children.


Hope vs. Expectation; Forgiveness?

Earlier this week i saw John, the therapist i've worked with for many years. Because i'm largely healed of the past & not "crazy" any more, i usually don't see him but about once a month. But i'm seeing him a little more often in anticipation of the visit with my family next month.

I mentioned to him that i no longer believe that we will conceive a child/have a family, but i can't help but hope. He thought this normal. However, when i talked about monthly disappointment & mourning, he said, "That's not hope; that's expectation."


Expectation is the assumption, the confidence that something will occur eventually. I did have this confidence a year or two ago. I no longer have any confidence, assurance, no prospect, no expectation that this will happen for us. But i still have hope. And as long as i have hope, i will be disappointed. I know there is no promise that we will have children.

I found this on a blog earlier today:


Level 1 — Detached Forgiveness — There is a reduction in megative feelings toward the offender, but no reconciliation takes place.

Level 2 — Limited Forgivenss — There is a reduction in negative feelings toward the offender, and the relationship is partially restored.

Level 3 — Full Forgiveness — There is a total cessation of negative feelings toward the offender, and the relationship is fully restored.


  • Approval of what they did
  • Excusing what they did
  • Justifying what they did
  • Pardoning what they did
  • Reconciliation (Takes two people)
  • Denying what they did
  • Blindness to what happened
  • Forgetting
  • Refusing to take wrong seriously
  • Pretending we are not hurt


  • Being aware of what they did and still forgiving them
  • Choosing to keep no records of wrongs
  • Refusing to punish
  • Not telling what they did
  • Being merciful
  • Graciousness
  • An inner condition
  • The absence of bitterness
*INTIMACY IGNITED by Dillow & Pintus (p.210-211)

Now, this is speaking directly about marriage, at least on the blog it was & by title, i assume the book is as well. But it made me think of forgiveness in general, & IF this is appropriate to marriage, i don't think it is in general forgiveness.

If it is, i haven't done much forgiving in my life. But one huge difference is that forgiveness can occur without restoring of a relationship. If fact, it often has to. If i was hurt by a bully at school i've not seen in 20 years, or by someone who has died but forgiveness is necessary, then it happens without the other person being involved. What is more, forgiveness is freeing me. It does not require the other person to be repentant. But it does free me from carrying the burden of judgement of the other person.

This of course touches me as recently i've frequently posted on my mother & my relationship with her. And, at least one person has spoken to me on forgiveness.

I can state that i believe that i have forgiven my parents, particularly my mother. But one of the reasons it comes up frequently for me is that it has shaped me. I respond in certain ways because of that shaping. And i'm not sure i'll ever be able to change it, so i will always be aware of the things that were done that created that shape. It is not unforgiveness, it is awareness.

For example, right now Duane is out visiting with the neighbors who are having a garage sale. And this makes me very, very nervous.

The neighbor is very friendly. He will stop at our house for half an hour or more & chat in the driveway. My husband is very friendly, a people person, & enjoys this interaction. So why am i nervous?

It is because my mother rarely allowed me to visit with neighbors. When we saw the neighbors outside her comment was, "Don't bug them. Leave them alone. They won't like you if you bug them. If people really know you they won't like you."

We were allowed to visit with an elderly neighbor lady when she was out in her garden, but ony for a few minutes at a time. I believe that this lady did indeed enjoy the visits of her young neighbors, but my mother rarely allowed it. Now, i wonder if she didn't limit these visits because of the abuse. If someone got to know us really well we might have told, & my mother did a wonderful job of making a good appearance to everyone who knew our family. She didn't want that facade marred.

Or, she may simply have believed as often even normal parents do, that we were disturbing the neighbors & they would rather not be bothered.

But it effects me & effects me very strongly. I will join Duane in visiting neighbors when we are outdoors, but if we stand talking for more than about 10 minutes i begin to get very uncomfortable & antsy. The idea that if someone "really knew me" they couldn't possibly like me effects me on a day to day basis.

Is the fact that i "tell what was done" & talk about it an indication of unforgiveness? I don't know the answer to this. I don't know, but i don't believe the above is appropriate to general forgiveness.

I'll post later today on the baby blanket & the apron i made. Off to a memorial right now.


14 May 2009

Birds 'n blooms

As i feared, when we got home the apple tree has lost most of its glorious bloom. I'm so thankful we took the pics Monday before we left, for many of the petals now adorn the ground. The bees are still hard at work.

Ok, as promised, Duane's wonderful pics. I had wanted pics of so many things. Orange County is exploding into bloom. Jacaranda trees are purple; morning glory or bougainvillea are blooming over archways & walls; roses are blooming everywhere, as are clematis, pansies, & petunias. It is very beautiful. However, we didn't have a lot of time as we were leaving yesterday. Duane got some pics of his mom's rose garden (which backs to the neighbors, so double the beauty), some glads, & some shots of her back yard.

This is the rose bush Duane's brother picked up for her for Mother's day & we all gave it as a joint present. Very pretty.

Some more of the roses. Duane's mom's are on the right side of the wall. Her Mother's day rose bush looks white (but has traces of pale pink) in the front right.

These glads were planted by Duane's sister Laura long ago. She died before i met Duane. They thought the glads were lost when some yard work was done, but they had spread & came back.

These shots are from Duane's mom's back yard.

Then this was along our way home, in the lower elevation of the mountain road. This blooms in the springtime along our roads. I had been calling it "gorse" because it is a yellow mountain flower, kind of a weed. But the last time i was at the Discovery Center (it calls itself a "state of the art Visitors Center & educational facility") i learned that this is called "Spanish broom." Also that it is a non-native weed & they'd really like to see it go away. I also looked up images of gorse & while there is a superficial resemblance from a distance, gorse flowers look nothing like these.

Yucca is also blooming.

We have quite a variety of birds come to our house. I can't identify them all. But when we got home last night there were several of these fellows. They are new, we've never seen them before. They are also quite shy. Duane had to move slowly to the window to get these shots. Any movement at all in the house & they are gone. I've no idea what they are. Will have to check it out at the Discovery Center next time we're there. What is interesting is that these birds are eating both sunflower seeds & suet. Most birds do one or the other but not both.

This is a close up of the one Duan
e took Sunday. It is kind of blurry but i just love it 'cause it catches him in action. And his expression is so intent!


Poor, poor me

I know i've done a lot of "poor me" posts recently.

I'm kind of tired of it. Too much meme.

But i do have to share some of what has been going thru my mind.

The Mother's day posts with info started it a little.

I'll never be woken up to kids bringing me breakfast in bed, with Daddy's help, of course.

We'll never be planning a surprise birthday for Daddy, where the kids are giggling & trying to keep a secret.

We'll never bake cookies, or plant a garden together, or teach them how to ride bikes.

We will never be grandparents.

This last one kind of shocked me. I'm reading a couple of grandma blogs. The idea that there will be no second generation, no third generation, no grandkids hit me rather hard.

Ok, thanks for listening to another sorry me story.


13 May 2009

Wednesday, Wednes, Wed !

Lynnette Kraft of Dancing Barefoot on Weathered Ground hosts "Wednesday's Walk Down Memory Lane" every . . . Wednesday!

I've not done this before. It seems like i've been recalling too much lately, much of it unpleasant. But i thought i'd give this a go.

We just got home from Orange County, & i have to say that days like today (in OC) remind me very much of when i first moved to CA.

It was a very long time ago, & i lived in Long Beach at first. Later i lived in Artesia, then Fullerton, then Costa Mesa. Then Duane & i married & we moved to our current (& hopefully LAST!) situation in Big Bear, CA.

I moved to Long Beach in January, & i have to say the weather was gorgeous. January in Southern California is why folks move here! However, where i was living was a very flat neighborhood. Beyond looking at the neighbor's houses, i could see very little distance. A few months later & "June Gloom" set in, only it seemed to start in April! It felt like i didn't see the sun for months. A morning haze would set in & it never seemed to burn off.

When i had been living in CA for a few months i went to breakfast one morning with a friend. The cafe was on top of a small hill in Long Beach (Bixby Knolls area) & i could see some distance that day. All of a sudden i gasped, "There are mountains out there!" The person i was with laughed at me.

But i was so shocked because i had never seen them. I had heard of CA mountains, but imagined them far off as i had never seen them due to my land position & the haze. I couldn't believe they were truly so close.

Anyway, this AM in OC was very grey & hazy & it reminded me of when i first moved to California.
There are mountains out there. Can you see them?

See them yet?

Not yet?

How about now?

"Can you see me now?" LOL

Oh, think i'm starting to see . . .

Awww, there they are!

These are the same mountains, from the same freeway last December:

It is hard for me to believe how the haze so obscures these mountains.
Yet they are still there under all the yuck!

Check back a little later, i'm going to post some more spring pics - blooms & birds - that Duane took today!